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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - To Humble Your Soul Means To Fast

Derek Prince - To Humble Your Soul Means To Fast

Derek Prince - To Humble Your Soul Means To Fast

This is an excerpt from: The Secret Power Of Fasting

So, let's look at just a few examples, just two as a matter of fact. First of all, the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16:29-31. Leviticus the 16th chapter, verses 29 to 31. This is a lengthy chapter and it's the ordinances for the Day of Atonement, what the Jewish people call Yom Kippur. This is the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar from then until now. It describes the way that God ordained the sacrifice to make atonement for Israel's sins. And everything depended on that sacrifice, the whole future and destiny of the nation depended on that sacrifice. But in the midst of the description of the sacrifice, God also requires a response from His people. And the response He requires is that they shall afflict their souls, that's the usual translation. But the word translated afflict is frequently translated humble.

So, God requires His people to humble their souls. And this is a very significant truth. The sacrifice was something they could not arrange, it was outside their power to provide, it came entirely from God's grace; but they could not benefit from the sacrifice unless they met God's conditions, and humbled their souls. And it's true with us as Christians. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is complete, it's perfect, we can never add anything to it, we can never take anything from it. But if we are to benefit from it we have to meet God's conditions just as surely as Israel did. And this is the condition that God stated, verses 29 and following of Leviticus 16: This shall be a statute forever for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country, or a stranger who sojourns among you; for on that day the priest shall make atonement for you to cleanse you; that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls; it is a statute forever.

Now the Jewish people have always understood quite certainly that the phrase to afflict your souls means to fast, to go without food. As a matter of fact, on that day normally they go without food or water. Let me define fasting as a matter of fact, just to make it clear. My definition of fasting is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. Often, it's also from drinking. Generally speaking, not so. And just how you abstain, it's up to you to decide. But what I want to point out to you is that Israel were required to humble their souls in order to receive the benefit of the sacrifice offered on their behalf. And the Jewish people for about 3,400 years have always known that to humble their souls meant to fast.

And, as a matter of fact, this is an unbroken practice in the history of the Jewish people from the time of Moses to this day. On the Day of Atonement they afflict their souls by fasting. And in the New Testament in Acts 27:9, this day is called The Fast, which is New Testament confirmation that God understood that afflicting our souls is fasting. It's bringing our souls into subjection. It's not allowing our souls to dictate to us or to God. It's submitting ourselves to God. And I pointed out in the last talk that God is down to earth. When He speaks about the response He wants from us to the message of its grace, it's present your body. It's not something high flying and ethereal, it's something down to earth and very practical. And when God says I want you to humble yourselves, one way not the only way by any means but one way is by fasting.

And then we read about returning exiles after the Babylonian captivity in Ezra 8. Ezra was assigned the task of leading a group of exiles back from Babylon to Jerusalem. It was a four month journey in those days and it lay through territory where there were brigands and robbers and enemies of Israel. Not only did Ezra have women and children with him but he had many of the most precious vessels of the temple to carry back. The question was: How was he going to get safe passage? And this is the solution of Ezra. We read in Ezra 8, beginning in verse 21. Then I proclaimed a fast there at the River of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him the right way, for us and for our little ones, and all our possessions. How did they humble themselves? They proclaimed a fast.

You see, it was a public fast that concerned all God's people. And then he comes out with this really interesting statement: I was ashamed to request from the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the way, because we had spoken to the king, saying: The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake him. You see, Ezra had put himself in a place by his testimony where he had to prove he really meant what he said. He told the king, Our God is the Almighty God, is the King of heaven, He protects us. Then he was assigned the task of leading these exiles back through this very dangerous situation and he said, I could have gone to the king and asked for an escort, soldiers and horsemen. But how would that fit in with my statement that our God protects people?

See, that often happens to us. We testify and then we have to live up to our testimony. And so he said: I didn't choose the carnal way, I didn't choose the world's way, I chose the spiritual way to seek God's protection not from soldiers and horsemen but by fasting and humbling ourselves before God and invoking His protection. You read the story, he sums it up in the next verse: So, we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer. And you read the rest of the story, they came through safely without a loss, without an accident. And in many, many situations we are confronted by two alternatives. Shall we take the carnal way or shall we take the spiritual way? Now, it so happens I can testify from experience because I became the adoptive father of a large family in a very difficult situation and we have moved from country to county, and place to place. I'd have to say that my first wife Lydia and I followed Ezra's example. When we had a journey to make, we fasted and prayed. And praise God, our family survived intact in the midst of tremendously dangerous circumstances, in the midst of war and famine. We survived. I want to testify God's way works. It's practical. It's not something theoretical.
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